Canada and the United States co-hosted a daylong summit for foreign ministers on the North Korean crisis, with delegates from 20 countries meeting in Vancouver to discuss increased sanctions and a peaceful, diplomatic resolution.
Analysts described the conference, which notably did not include China and Russia, as an effort to reinject diplomacy into a political situation that has only increased in tension and danger.
The gathered countries were mostly made up of countries that fought under the United Nations flag during the Korean War over 60 years previous.
Those attending the closed-door summit stated their condemnation of North Korea’s nuclear weapon ambitions and stated their support for stronger enforcement of current sanctions and a preference for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland promised that “a North Korea that commits to the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear program will have a secure place in the international community.”
North Korea, officially known as the Democratic Republic of Korea, has given global security as their reason for intercontinental ballistic missile and nuclear weapon testing that has dramatically increased tensions with the United States.
In the closing of the conference, Freeland and U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson were united in their concerns, reiterating the official stance of both Ottawa and Washington: that a nuclear-armed North Korea would never be acceptable.
Major actors in the DPRK crisis, Russia and China, were not invited to the summit, much to their condemnation.
On Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the Vancouver gathering a “pernicious and detrimental meeting”, while China said “Cold War thinking” was behind the gathering.
Spokesman Lu Kang said excluding Beijing from representation at the talks was detrimental in finding a resolution to the situation.
Pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump over 2017 has appeared to have pushed China into following through with many of the multi-lateral sanctions put in place largely by the U.N. Security Council.
Beijing is a key ally of Pyongyang and it number one trading partner, but said only the Security Council and six party DPRK, South Korea, Russia, U.S., Japan and China talks are legitimate avenues of diplomatic efforts.
Canada, the United States, France, United Kingdom, Australia and most of the European and Asian continents have made clear North Korea must stop all nuclear and long-range missile programs.
The effectiveness of the summit in regards to international change is yet to be seen, but the pressure from the aligned powers in their effort to curate “artful diplomacy” could be a start towards peace with North Korea, according to analysts.
Recently, alarms in both Hawaii and Japan went off mistakenly, incorrectly warning residents of a North Korean missile attack.
More details to follow. Image from the Toronto Star.